Readers weigh in on President Clinton and the Senate's impeachment trial

SATURDAY MAILBOX

January 30, 1999

I am so proud to be a Republican these days because they are doing what is right for this country regardless of their political futures. How dare the Democrats accuse them of acting partisan? The Democrats are the ones who have acted totally partisan from the beginning in their defense of this embarrassment of a president.

During the voting on the impeachment articles, six times as many Republicans as Democrats crossed the aisle and voted with their conscience and sworn oath. Now we need 12 Senate Democrats to truly listen to the overabundance of evidence and vote their common sense.

Jim Rogers, Perry Hall

The most important U.S. potential that President Clinton should have spoken about in the State of the Union address was that of restoring dignity, respect and honor to the president's office, which he has tarnished.

The nation's chief executive committed despicable acts in his office when he was being paid to run the country.

People who say we expect too much of our leaders show that they have no faith in humans' capacity to control themselves and their destiny.

Isn't it time to begin changing the spirit of apathy and complacency by challenging citizens to accept greater personal responsibility for everything from the litter in the streets to the tolerance of diversity in our culture?

Marie Lewis, Baltimore

In your lead editorial on Jan. 24 ("Impeachment travesty has gone on long enough"), you said that the word senator implies wisdom. Senator comes from the Latin "senatus," which means old man. That word derives from "senex," which means old and is the same root as the word senile.

Senators are not, by definition, wise, just as representatives, in practice, don't necessarily represent.

D. R. Belz, Lutherville

The House managers and their compatriots in the Senate would have us believe that they alone know what is moral, and those of us who disagree are simply wrong.

What Mr. Clinton did was clearly indefensible. But there is morality and there is morality.

The same people who make up the let's-get-Clinton crowd are comfortable addressing the latest incarnation of the KKK, resist helping those abused by health maintenance organizations, resist laws to regulate cigarette smoking and resist meaningful campaign finance reform.

It is these people who have shown their contempt for the American people in refusing to give any credence to the overwhelming support for the president and their contempt for history in cavalierly rejecting the advice of our most eminent historians that the charges against President Clinton do not rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Those wishing to remove the president would have us believe that the support the president enjoys is the result solely of a booming economy. In part, they may be right. But I believe there may be another reason: the fear that this fundamentalist minority will gain the ascendancy.

Stanley L. Rodbell, Columbia

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist recently was quoted as having said tongue in cheek, "Don't overestimate us [The Supreme Court]." Another quote from Shakespeare could follow, "Many a true thing has been said in jest."

His admonition was right on target. It's difficult to take the court seriously after its decisionthat a sitting president of the United States can be dragged into civil court at any time and that act will not interfere with his duties as president. Many of us outside the Beltway shuddered at the decision to allow the Paula Jones case to go forward, and we are now seeing the fruits of that decision.

The one good thing this entire matter has brought about is that the American people are getting a closer look at how our government works and the real character of our representatives.

Robert V. P. Davis, Baltimore

I take issue with Jack Germond and Jules Witcover's Opinion Commentary column ("Giving cover to Democrats who stand by their man," Jan. 22) suggesting that Deputy White House Counsel Cheryl Mills played the "race card" by defending President Clinton's record on civil rights at the end of her statement in the impeachment trial.

Did they forget that it was the newfound concern of the House managers for the "civil rights" of Paula Jones, and more specifically, Sen. Lindsey Graham's comparison of Mr. Clinton's case to civil rights litigation of the 1960s that opened the door to Ms. Mills' comments?

After waiting three years to make a claim (allegedly to protect her good name), Ms. Jones found political enemies of Mr. Clinton willing to underwrite a weak sexual harassment suit. The suit became a federal "civil rights" suit only because the statute of limitations ran out on other sexual harassment statutes.

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